Cactus Rescue Project

On Saturday morning, August 1, some two dozen volunteers introduced an endangered cactus to the grounds of the Santa Fe Institute. The 150 endangered Santa Fe Cholla (Cylindropuntia viridiflora) were transplanted on the Institute's main campus in hopes they will thrive and reproduce.

“As an ecologist, I am delighted that the Santa Fe Institute can play a role in helping to preserve this local, endangered cactus," said SFI's Vice President for Science Jennifer Dunne. "It will be an unusual and welcome addition to our grounds and we hope that the cholla will thrive as much as the scientists who spend time here.”

Santa Fe cholla are smaller and bushier than the common "tree cholla" seen statewide. The endangered species is characterized by its bronze- and salmon-colored blooms and shorter segments. The Institute's campus is less than two miles away from the Santa Fe cholla’s wild location, and the elevation and soil composition make the campus an ideal spot.

The cholla planting is part a cooperative project between five New Mexico organizations: the Cactus Rescue Project, the Native Plant Society of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Endangered Plant Program of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. Following the planting at the Institute, EMNRD officials recorded the plants’ GPS locations, and will continue to annually monitor their establishment.

Read more about the Santa Fe cholla (Cylindropuntia viridiflora)

Read more about the Cactus Rescue Project

Read more about the Endangered Plant Program at the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department